The Art of Roving Mars

I was poking around over on gizo’s blog this morning. It’s been a while since I dropped by over there, but every time I wander through there’s something interesting going on. This time it was a You-Tube clip he had posted that caught my imagination.

Before you go look, consider this: NASA has done a lot of work to design the best possible machine to wander the surface of mars (with the constraint that it must not weigh very much at all). They’ve done a pretty good job, judging from where I’m sitting; little six-wheeled buggies have managed to poke around the surface of the red planet and find some cool stuff.

The Mars rovers are solar powered. What about wind? There’s a lot of that stuff up there. What if you could make a large machine that could step over obstacles and was powered only by wind? How far could it go?

OK, now go look at gizo’s blog, and the video. [I was, in my minutes of research, unable to figure out how to link to a specific episode over there.] Imagine something like what you just saw in that video, but able to crawl over boulders and hunker down when the wind got too dangerous. Gnarly.

The current Mars rover design is encumbered by a mandate that is must be a scientific instrument. For the Mars Wind Walker ‘Amelia Earhart’, I say screw that. Build it as well as you possibly can, throw it up there, and turn it loose. The romantic in me says don’t even include a transmitter. It might be centuries before we find it again, if ever, but we’ll know it’s out there. For the colonists of Earth’s dusty brother, there will be a ghost story waiting for them when they arrive.

Note that in the time since I posted the link above it’s become rather not-helpful for finding the video. I searched and all I could find is this much less poetic look.

6 thoughts on “The Art of Roving Mars

  1. I think it would need to be fairly large to work well; part of the design would have to be making it fold up into a compact package and then automatically unfold itself when it got there.

  2. The less dense atmosphere would make for less ‘push’ on the sails, but then again, the sunlight is dimmer and they made that work. So, hey! let’s build it. Less is more.

  3. I respectfully request that Aug the Twoth (which is both unnamed and imminent) be called Bill_Bob’s_Brother’s_Day on the OMC (Official Muddled Calendar) in honor of his birthday (which is today).


  4. Hope you had a happy birthday, Bill.

    And I hope you had a good time the following day, which is apparently your birthday (observed).

  5. I did have a good birthday. My cousin George and his family visited me for the day. (They were in the middle of an Alaska Cruise). I may almost have convinced them to move to Alaska. You should come visit as well. You may like it here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *